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How effective are M.P.'s at scrutinising the Government?

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POLITICS ESSAY How effective are M.P.'s at scrutinising the Government? The issue of whether or not M.P.'s are effective at scrutinising the Government is extremely controversial. Many would argue that that they are effective due to the six scrutinising mechanisms, debates, question time, and the opposition, standing committees, Select Committees and the liaison committee. However some critics would contend that M.P.'s are not as effective at scrutinising the Government as the majority of M.P.'s belong to the governing party. Thereby undermining their effectiveness at scrutinisers as they have a conflict of interest, as party loyalty is so strong. Executive dominance inhibits M.P.'s from effectively scrutinising the Government. Debates are one mechanism that M.P.'s use in order to scrutinise the Government. Debates are en effective means of scrutinising the Government as they force the Government to explain and justify its actions. They also allow parliament to express dissenting views and to challenge the Government. An example of a debate that thoroughly scrutinised the Government was in September 2002, over the war in Iraq, where M.P.'s got the chance to fully empress their views. Thus effectively scrutinising the Government. However parliament is not always effective at scrutinising the Government through debates as they rarely have an impact on Government, unless Government has a small party majority. ...read more.


These problems are the lack of resources, the limited research facilities, and the limited support services. Without the necessary backing form the government, the opposition are at a disadvantage and can only use what available in order to scrutinise the government. Consequently, M.P.'s cannot act effectively as a watchdog to government. Standing committees also give M.P.'s the chance to scrutinise and amend the government's Bills. However these standing committees are widely renowned for not carrying out this function due to excessive partisanship, limited information, limited expertise, limited time and limited amendment powers. All of these faults allow for the standing committees at be extensively ineffective at scrutinising the government. On the contrary another committee dedicated to scrutinising the government is the Select Committees. These committees scrutinise the expenditures, administration and policies of each government department. The M.P.'s in these committees have a specialised knowledge in one area; therefore their powers of criticism are stronger. Thus allowing them to scrutinise the government more effectively. Also they act as a means of deterrence. They prevent ministers from acting in a way that they could not justify in public. Thereby showing that M.P.'s in the Select Committees are effectively scrutinising the government. M.P.'s in the Select Committees can also examine and call for written evidence. ...read more.


Thus not allowing the government to dominate this panel. This panel enhances and extends parliaments ability to hold the Prime Minister to account, and effectively scrutinises the Prime Minister and his government. In July 2003 Blair was questioned on a number of issues ranging from pensions to transport, and in January 2003 he was probed extensively on the war in Iraq. Hence showing that the government are effectively being scrutinised by M.P.'s. To finish off, one can conclude that yes, M.P.'s do carry out the role of scrutiny successfully to a certain extent as beforehand we saw that through the six key scrutiny mechanisms, debates, question time, and the opposition, standing committees, Select Committees and the liaison committee the government is thoroughly checked up on by M.P.'s. However one must also point out that each of these mechanisms also had faults, such as lack of resources that M.P.'s need to scrutinise the government, and also the fact that government nearly always has party majority, which allows for party loyalty to take place and executive dominance. These all prevent the important process of scrutiny from taking place. Also government interference is also a huge problem in the scrutiny process, which shouldn't be happening as its them the M.P.'s are supposed to be scrutinising. The government act difficult towards these scrutiny mechanisms in order to prevent them from being scrutinised exhaustively, and in order to make themselves look good. Orl� Vallely 13H ...read more.

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